The Lindbergh Foundation Believes that Innovative Science and Technology Hold the Key to Addressing Humanity’s Environmental and Productivity Challenges


The Lindbergh bloggers community.

I recently posted updates on two Lindbergh Grant recipients who have completed their research projects.  As always, I find the projects we fund to be so interesting.  I especially like it when a simple idea solves a complex problem.

Take Richard Osiyo for example.  He was faced with finding a problem to Kenya's continuing food crisis while protecting the Lake Victoria water basin from pollutants.  Clearly, throwing more chemical fertilizers at this agricultural problem was not a viable solution.   The Lindbergh Foundation gave Richard a grant so he could work on a project entitled,

“Training Kenyan Farmers to Integrate Rice and Fish Farming to Increase Production and Reduce Harmful Run-off in the Lake Victoria Basin”

Farmer holds fishUsing Lindbergh Grant funds, Mr. Osiyo introduced rice straw, Azolla green manure (a water fern) and urea, as nutrient sources to improve soil fertility and higher yields  in irrigated rice production. The organic materials supply nutrients and cause immobilization of nitrates and phosphates contained in irrigation water.  This prevents the transfer of nutrients from the rice fields to Lake Victoria where they cause pollution. By integrating fish and rice, soil fertility improves because of the waste from the fish. In addition, the fish eat insect pests from the rice and aquatic weeds in the rice fields.

The presence of fish is an integral part of this innovative system.  The fish actually contribute to a positive trickle-down effect as they:  

  1. Reduce the need to use chemical fertilizers in rice production and improves food production,
  2. Reduce malnutrition and increases farmer’s income because families can eat or sell the fish, and
  3. Reduce pollution in Lake Victoria and other water bodies downstream.

The results of this project have shown that the rice-fish-Azolla farming system improves the overall quality of life for the farmers as they are able to increase agricultural production.  All the farmers who participated in the project have adopted the technology and achieved better yields from their crops.  Mr. Osiyo plans to continue with the study.

Who would have thought that fish and especially fish poop could help improve the problem of food shortages and reduce the amount of pollution flowing into Lake Victoria!

You can read Mr. Osiyo's final report by clicking here.

Shelley Nehl, Grants Program Administrator, and I had a wonderful opportunity last week to meet 2009 Lindbergh Grant Recipient Sean Sloan.  He was in Minnesota, all the way from Melbourne, Australia, to meet with the folks from the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota and to give a presentation about the research he conducted using Lindbergh Grant funds. 

Although Sean has not yet submitted his final report for his research project entitled, "Combining Satellite Imagery and Census Data to Show how Socio-Economic Development Encourages Forest Regeneration in Panama," he told us that one particularly exciting outcome of his project is the creation of what is essentially a global census of the environment using satellite images.  He has also gathered census data from Panama for the period of 1980 - 2000, to study the pathways of social and environmental change.  He believes that his study measures and confirms theories of change and could improve the field of geography.  Sean says the most significant outcome of his work is learning what social changes influence which specific environmental changes, and they aren't always what we might think.

I hope you'll stay tuned for further updates on this fascinating study.

A special thanks to Sean for spending the extra time with Shelley and me, and to the kind people we met at the Minnesota Population Center.

Ms. Hart's final report supports her hypothesis that the peach twig borer uses both sound and pheromones to locate each other for mating purposes and that using a combination of these tools can be effective in controlling the pests.  This also means that a more advanced trap must be developed than those currently in use.  In her report, Ms. Hart wrote, "The sound signals are simple sounds, more basic than the songs emitted by microchips in 'singing' greeting cards, or in sound-emitting plush toys.  By incorporating the female sound and pheromone signals into one trap to control males, and male sounds alone in a trap to control females, growers should be able to use this combination of new and old technology to effectively and safely rid their crops of this pest moth."  Read her full report here.

Dr. Ganesh Raman recently presented a paper at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 2010 Aerospace Sciences Conference in Orlando, Florida.  The paper was based on the research funded by the Lindbergh Foundation.  He conveyed some very good results.  Click here to download a PDF of his paper.

2007 Lindbergh Grant Recipient Dr. Peter Wrege was included in a "60 Minutes" segment entitled, "The Secret Language of Elephants" on January 3, 2010.  Click here to read about Dr. Wrege's research project and for a link to the "60 Minutes" segment.  It's a fascinating story.

Just posted an update about Dr. Moore on his grant page of the website. This article was already highlighted on the previous Lindbergh site and posted by Kelley Welf.

Steven's project involved engaging students in video technology and using it to study animals in the wild. Solar powered, wireless, cams were setup in the woods. Triggered by motion sensors, live feeds are transmitted over the internet into the classrooms where the kids can study the animals.

A very interesting project... check it out.


Aggie team first in MACH-1 contest

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A Texas A&M team of graduate students and professors in the Department of Aerospace Engineering won first place in the inaugural Model-based Aerospace CHallenge #1 (MACH-1).The winning design from the Texas A&M team

The challenge was sponsored by The Mathworks Corp. of Natick, Mass., and the Guidance, Navigation, and Control Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

The competition challenge was to design and implement an integrated control system to fly an aerial regional-scale environmental survey of Mars (ARES) aircraft along a prescribed trajectory for the purpose of collecting scientific data. The flight control system was designed to be implemented in a prototype embedded processor environment that was connected to a high-fidelity simulation model of the aircraft and flight environment for evaluation of the design.

Student teams were provided with detailed code interface specifications and were tasked to provide ANSI-C compliant source code to implement their control algorithms within the provided framework. The guidance, navigation, and control system was developed using a detailed simulation specification of the airplane and its component subsystems. The simulation was used to examine proposed mission scenarios to determine their feasibility and to design and create required interfaces between the various subsystems. The winning design was an H-infinity based longitudinal reference tracking controller.

The teams’ code solutions were judged by a panel of experts from industry and government labs, according to a specific set of performance criteria as evaluated in a detailed simulation environment, and a technical report. Each team presented their results in an invited session Aug. 21 at the AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference in Honolulu.

The faculty advisors were Dr. Raktim Bhattacharya, assistant professor and director of the Computational Intelligence and Sensing for Aerospace Robotics Laboratory; and Dr. John Valasek, associate professor and Director of the Vehicle Systems and Control Laboratory.

Aerospace engineering graduate student team members were Baljeet Singh, Shalom Johnson, Justin Jackson and Monica Marwaha.

Written by Dr. John Valasek

RSS plus SMS

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Michael Winngham

Yahoo! just enabled every blog and news service in the world to update 200 million American mobile consumers instantly. Every feed, from any source online is now a potential mobile alert service, instantly notifying readers, customers and users of any updates, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week anywhere they happen to be.

About Maneuver Space Technologies

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The first of these products was granted U.S. Patent 6,970,104 on 29 Nov., 2005. Designed to augment the cockpit display of traffic information (CDTI), 4CAS--4-Dimensional Collision-Avoidance System--is currently in the proof-of-concept stage. Shown below in prototype, 4CAS goes far beyond TCAS, and is designed to enable manual free flight in modern commercial and general aviation aircraft flightdecks.

Seminar at the National Institute of Aerospace

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Type: Seminar
Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Time: 10:30 am
Location: NIA headquarters, 100 Exploration Way, Room 137
Speaker: Lesley A. Weitz, PhD Candidate, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University


Subject: "Using Structural Analogies to Analyze and Design Cooperative Control Laws for Multivehicle Systems"

ABSTRACT: Advances in communication, navigation, and computational systems have enabled greater autonomy in multivehicle systems. With these technological advances, the opportunity to control multivehicle systems becomes a reality, and there is a shift toward decentralized, cooperative systems for computational efficiency and robustness. Decentralized, cooperative multivehicle applications include: robotic vehicles for search-and-rescue or planetary exploration, formation control of UAVs/MAVs, automated highway systems, and next-generation air traffic systems. This presentation will show how cooperative control laws for multivehicle systems are analogous to structural systems. By exploiting this analogy, traditional analysis tools can be applied to investigate the system stability and the effect of disturbances on multivehicle systems. Two analysis tools will be presented here: modal cost and receptance functions. The modal cost quantifies the disturbability of the system for a given control law, and the receptance functions reveal string instabilities for a given control law. Simulation results will be presented to support the use of these analysis tools in the cooperative control-law design.

Lesley A. Weitz is currently a PhD Candidate (expected graduation May 2009) in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University under the advisement of Dr. Johnny Hurtado. Ms. Weitz's research is in the area of decentralized, cooperative control design and stability analysis. She has worked with NASA Langley Research Center and the National Institute of Aerospace on Next-Generation Air Traffic Systems, and has recently been awarded a NASA Graduate Student Research Fellowship for her research in this area. In addition, Ms. Weitz is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Amelia Earhart Fellow, and an AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Fellow. Ms. Weitz received her Master's degree, also from Texas A&M University, in 2005, and her Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University at Buffalo in 2002.

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